South Africa pushes game meat for dinners, job creation

South Africa is setting its sights on a bigger slice of the dinner plate, with a focus on promoting game meat as a healthy, eco-friendly protein source. 

The country, a leader in wildlife tourism, boasts a largely untapped game meat sector with the potential to create jobs, boost the economy, and contribute to wildlife conservation.

While South Africa produces a significant amount of game meat – around 60,000 tonnes annually – most of it goes uneaten through formal channels. 

The government estimates that 90% of this meat is consumed informally, outside of butcher shops and supermarkets. 

Exports are even lower, with just over 3,000 tonnes of exotic meats like ostrich, crocodile, and zebra reaching international markets in 2019.

Recognizing the potential of this industry, South African authorities have outlined a plan for significant growth. 

The goal, as stated by the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries’ biodiversity economy chief Khorommbi Matibe, is to bring “organic game meat from the wild” to dinner tables across the country and the world.

This ambitious strategy aims to increase the value of the game meat sector from 4.6 billion rand ($250 million) in 2020 to a staggering 27.6 billion rand by 2036. 

Published in late 2023, the plan highlights the potential for game meat to not only create jobs and economic growth but also contribute to wildlife conservation efforts. 

With a focus on sustainability and ethical practices, South Africa hopes to become a major player in the global game meat market.

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